In light of sharply higher heating bills, MidAmerican Energy has accelerated by several months the payment of a $21.6 million credit to its electric customers.
The company is also encouraging customers who are unable to do so to assign their credit to the I CARE program, which helps low income individuals pay their heating bills.
The accelerated credit proposal, filed recently with the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB), results from an innovative regulatory pricing plan agreed to by MidAmerican, the Office of Consumer Advocate and other interested parties in 1997. As part of that plan, Iowa customers can receive credits on their electric bills if MidAmerican's electric business is successful in managing its operations more effectively. Last year, Iowa customers received a credit from the same plan totaling $15 million. This year's $21.6 million credit is a result of MidAmerican's ability to sell electricity on the wholesale market.
"MidAmerican imports coal and produces energy for its Iowa customers," said Ron Stepien, MidAmerican president. "After first economically meeting our customers' needs, we have been very successful in exporting additional value-added energy to wholesalers outside of the state."
Subject to IUB approval, the average credit on residential customer bills will be approximately $20 and will appear on customer statements in either late January or February. MidAmerican's current residential electric customers and nonresidential customers served under tariff rates in Iowa will share the benefit of the credit. While the credit will only appear on the bills of customers who purchase their electricity through MidAmerican, it should provide some relief following a period of extremely high heating bills.
Read the rest of this article in the 1/18 Pilot Tribune.